Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Door Closes

There is one thing no one ever tells you when you become a parent: that moments of abject terror will strike you all the time. Small things, that normally would be a minor annoyance, not worthy of mention otherwise, are transformed into heart stopping rides to the depth of the soul. Where normally you would swear and be slightly inconvenienced, you are now praying to God that nothing happens, and the DCFS doesn't find out. Take, for example, being locked out of a hotel room -- like I was this weekend.

I knew the second I saw the door closing it was going to lock behind me. I had just pushed a luggage cart our into the hall, and as I turned around to go back in I knew I was too far from the door to catch it before it shut. I lunged anyway, and my hand hit the knob just as the lock clicked.

I didn't have the key. I was lucky I had on pants, as I was dressing for a wedding when the cart caught my eye. I had just plugged in my curling iron to do my hair. And I had just sat Meg down on the floor to eat cheddar bunnies while I did that. Now she was locked in a room, alone, with a hot curling iron. Oh, and glassware. And medications in my open suitcase. And a half bottle of champagne from helping the bride dress. I had locked her in Guns 'n Roses dressing room.

I started to freak out.

I knew I had to get a key, but I didn't want to leave the door. I worried she would come over and try to open it, and walk out into the hall, or slam her fingers. I worried she would start a fire with the curling iron. I worried she would start choking on a cheddar bunny. I started to rock back and forth, and jump up and down. I don't know why I thought making a spectacle of myself in an empty hotel hallway would help, but for some reason it was my first course of action. And then? You have never seen a fat girl run so fast.

All the way down to the front desk I pictured the horrible things that could be going on in that room. I saw fires, flood, and pestilence. For just a moment I was very thankful I had already put on my bra and Spanx, since no one needs to see that much jiggling, but then I was right back to picturing the worst.

I got to the front desk horribly out of breath, since I am not only a bad parent but totally out of shape. "Baby, curling iron, door lock, room 661," I coughed out, hoping someone would go rescue Meg if I collapsed on the spot. Luckily adrenaline kept my heart pumping and my legs moving, and I was off again like a shot.

By the time I got back to the room I was figuring out how to tell Ryan I had caused our child's death. I was thinking of whether or not we could sue the hotel, or the luggage cart company, or my parents for making me so fucking stupid. I hoped Meg's death and/or maiming wouldn't ruin the wedding. As I slid the keycard into the lock I figured at best we would soon have to have a new robotic hand made for Meg due to the horrible burn she had suffered by now. I pictured the telethon to pay for it.

The door swung open.

There sat Meg, eating cheddar bunnies. "Hi," she said, and then went back to the task at hand. I don't think she had even noticed I was gone.

My heartbeat slowed. I stopped sweating. I slid down the back of the door the floor and watched as Meg toddled over to me, bunny in hand, to feed me. I thanked God the worst hadn't happened. The world came back into perspective. My panicked parent goggles went back into my pocket.

Still, I kept the room key in my bra the rest of the weekend. Better safe than sorry.

28 comments:

Wanna Bee said...

laugh out loud funny! can't wait until I have a kiddo to potentially maim!

Riot Kitty said...

Yeow. My dad had a moment of terror like that when my little bro was 3 - he was in Toys R Us and when my dad turned to talk to an employee, he made a beeline for one of the little playhouses. But holy shit, it must have been scary.

Juniper said...

I can totally imagine how you felt, especially as you are probably not thinking rationally and calmly at the moment.

Look on the bright side, that is the sort of thing you only do once.. you will always put a shoe in the doorway now just in case the door swings shut!

JX

He Said said...

Curling iron, medicines and all other hazards you mentioned be damned.

YOU LET HER EAT CHEDDAR BUNNIES ON A HOTEL ROOM FLOOR!

Talk about a health hazard.

LL Cool Joe said...

Ha ha, this is a classic! I shut my daughter in a my jeep for what must have been an hour! So do I get the bad parent award then?

G said...

Great way for the hair to turn a little grayer in the process.

I did that with my son once when he was about 3. I accidentally locked him in the car while he was in his car seat.

Even though he couldn't hear me, he was able to pull up the door lock so I was able to get back in the car. Fortunately for me, he wasn't strapped in yet.

Kewl, I got a real word for my verify: "frowning"

The Tame One said...

I know this feeling. I do!!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh. Dear. God.

You see that? Cheddar Bunnies save lives.

Ellie

fancypants said...

Same thing happened to me when my son was Meg's age- except it was our apartment. I had to go down and across to the landlady's mother's apartment to get her to open the door. You would think she would let me take the keys and run upstairs to unlock the door before my child crawled out of a window or something (I had the same fears running through my mind). But no- she just waddled her way slowly up the stairs- it felt like a bajillion years. Luckily my son was ok. I always had keys in my hands whenever I walked outside after that...

Granny Annie said...

You hit the target on bringing back a lot of intense memories of similar experiences. That panic cannot be equaled. Thank God Meg was okay. Hey, I'm so old I don't know what cheddar bunnies are but I want some now.

Kelly said...

I locked Mack in my car, (while it was running) when she was about 13 months old, at a gas station. The spare keys were in my purse...that was also locked in the car. I had about a million people try to get it open, and no one could, so I ended up having to call a locksmith. She was stuck in the car for about an hour and a half. I thought I would die.

Keep in mind, this is in 1993, so it's not like I could whip out my cell phone and call or text someone. Remember back then, when 30 free minutes a month was a "good" plan?

Amanda said...

Slash is more of the permanent type than one who would bother with a curling iron.

At least you can say you got your exercise for that day.

BugginWord said...

"I had locked her in Guns 'n Roses dressing room."

That's possibly the best line ever written.

Summer said...

Perfect description of parent panic. Been there. Done it. Didn't get a t-shirt. Elijah has locked me out of our house TWICE.

Guns and Roses dressing room... Libby, you are effin hilarious.

C Lo said...

Been there, done that. Good lord I'm glad it was you and not me this time. ;)

Daniel said...

This is why I love the intarweb. :)

Chances are good that I wouldn't know how I'd react until something like that actually happened to me, but I like to think I'd have possibly reacted similar...

Kelly said...

I am constantly worried I will drop something while holding my son and drop him to catch whatever stupid thing I dropped. Nice.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Wow! Is it my luck that the first post I stumbled across on your blog is this engagingly hilarious and brilliantly told, suspenseful story that kept me on the edge of my seat while laughing out loud?! (yeah, I consider using LOL the first time you meet somebody to be rude...) Somehow I have a feeling this is a standard fare here. I thank my lucky star that I found your blog while cursing it too because now I really need that 25th hour the devil has promised me when I told that inappropriate joke about Chinese People Time...

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Hey, I see Ellie. That woman sure gets around, eh? But I agree with what she said. He he. What she said.

JenS said...

Oh my goodness, I'm wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing. You described that terror so perfectly. Glad everything was ok.

Kim said...

You have a curling iron?

Dunc said...

oh my god, this post killed me with the imagery. i'm crying

Jill VT said...

This is my life too. So glad you get it.

WA said...

I'm going one step further & keeping Cheddar Bunnies in my bra from now on.

lifeisacrapshoot said...

BAH!!!! I laughed out loud. I'm sorry.
Glad she was ok. And that eventually, you will be too!

Aunt Juicebox said...

I've locked myself out of the house twice, luckily while holding my little niece in my arms, but once it was cold out and we weren't wearing coats, and the other time I was getting ready to drive down to pick up my daughter from her bus stop. I ran there instead, carrying a 6 month old. It was not pleasant.

Waiting Lisa said...

Haha, I am glad she is okay. That must have been scary.

Gina said...

Many years ago, I got locked out of the house by my toddler son. In winter. With snow. IN MY UNDERWEAR. And then I died. The end.